Alison Swan makes her feature debut with Mixing Nia, a romantic comedy starring Fresh Prince of Bel Air's teen princess Karyn Parsons as a young writer of mixed race struggling to define her identity in a black-or-white world. Nia's been biding her time at an ad agency, but when she's asked to come up with a campaign to sell a new high-alcohol beer to inner-city youth, she quits. Jobless, she signs up for a writing workshop and falls instantly for its leader, a charismatic black activist, (Isiah Washington). Soon, however, she finds herself chafing at his insistence that she adopt an all-African-American identity.

"Being black in this country, you're so defined by that," says Swan, 30, who's from Bermuda where dark skin is the norm and black Bermudians have both political power and a relatively high living standard. "My experience being a black Bermudian is quite different from being a black American. Nia has to struggle to come to terms with who she is in a meaningful way that truly reflects her complexity and defies arbitrary labels."

Like many Bermudians, Swan was sent off-island as a teen, in her case to an East Coast boarding school. She got her MFA in film at NYU in '94, winning the school's Spike Lee Fellowship Award for her four narrative shorts. When financing for what was to have been her first feature fell through at the last minute, she went to work for producer Robert Stigwood (Evita) and returned to Bermuda to make a documentary short and manage media for a local political campaign. She and producer Gabriella Stollenwreck had been friends for several years when Swan completed Nia. Stollenwreck, who says Nia's script rang bells for her because she grew up in France with an Italian mother and American father, started her career in the marketing department at Orion Classics. Together she and Swan raised Nia's six-figure financing. All rights are available.

Cast: Karyn Parsons, Eric Thal, Isaiah Washington, Diego Serrano, Rosalyn Coleman, Heidi Schanz, Brenda Thomas Denmark. Crew: Producers, Gabriella Stollenwerck, Jedd Wider; Screenwriter/ Director, Alison Swan; Director of Photography, Christopher Norr; Production Designer, Andy Bernard; Location Manager, Nicole Klett; Editor, Cynthia Scheider. Contact: Gabriella Stollenwerck, Arrowhead Pictures, 95 Greene Street, #4D, New York, NY 10012. Tel/Fax: (212) 965-9660.

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